10 to Watch: Paula Bohland

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 3, 2015

Paula Bohland was in charge of Downtown Salisbury Inc. before she was really in charge.

She served as the interim executive director from January 2014 through June while a search for a full-time executive director was underway.

But when DSI President Mark Lewis asked her if she wanted the job for good, she said yes. And it wasn’t long before the board voted unanimously to hire her. She took over full time on July 1.

Bohland had been a longtime volunteer with Downtown Salisbury before taking the interim role. In 2007, she was honored by DSI as volunteer of the year for her work with merchants and implementation of development projects. She served two terms as DSI president, and in 2012 was named the DSI director of the year.

She brings a lot of energy and a positive attitude to her role at DSI. Since taking over as executive director, she’s been involved with the expansion of New Sarum Brewery, the redevelopment of the Bernhardt building and helped develop DSI’s “Shop the Blocks” initiative to encourage people to buy local.

Her task is to continue the never-ending fight to make downtown vibrant amid a shaky economy.

Originally from Michigan, Bohland moved to North Carolina when she was in high school. She has lived in Salisbury for 15 years, is married and has a son.

She has more than 20 years of consulting experience in the public and private sectors.

Her main areas of expertise are community and economic development, infrastructure management, strategic planning, funds development and program management.

She also holds a master’s degree in social work with a concentration in public policy and management from UNC-Chapel Hill.

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Job title: Executive Director of Downtown Salisbury Inc.

Age: In her 40s

Address: Lives in the Fulton Heights neighborhood of Salisbury

If you won $1 million in the lottery, what would you do? Endow an organization that would help children living in the community and around the world obtain assistance in getting a good education.

Favorite hobby: Traveling. She enjoys learning about different cultures. Places she’s been include Guatemala , Amsterdam in the Netherlands and Hawaii.

Who should play you in a movie? Sandra Bullock, because she’s a strong woman, versatile, determined.

What would you choose for your last meal? French fries — all varieties

Who will you watch in 2015?  Really interested in community leaders: city council, county commissioners and school board. The community is in the best position since she’s been here to work together and become stronger.

Biggest challenge in 2015: Continuing to work to keep downtown Salisbury strong, growing its economy and making downtown a place for people to be.

Biggest hope for 2015: That me and my family will continue to be healthy and happy … and that the Empire Hotel is under development by the end of 2015.

Reaction to making the list: Honored, and a bit surprised.